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Why the need to combat the gender pay gap in the media industry hasn’t vanished

Pay discrimination in the workplace based on gender – surely that’s a long distant memory, right? Wrong. Pay separations based on gender for the same quality of work continue to hold women back and prevent economic mobilisation even in today’s society.

According to the Press Gazette, a shocking 91% of UK-based media companies paid men more than women on average in 2018, indicating the vast gap in terms of economic outcomes for both genders. Of the worst gender pay gap offenders, the Telegraph Media Group came out on top with a median hourly pay gap of 23.4%.

Whilst the UK is arguably in a ‘better’ position than other developing countries that have even more severe gender discrimination in the workplace than just a pay gap – with the existence of women in many senior executive positions virtually invisible – the gender pay gap is nevertheless an issue which affects all nations and must be combatted. Whilst the wider pay gap across all industries has largely shrunk in most countries, some are actually seeing a rise in pay discrimination, such as Portugal, whose pay gap rose to 17% in 2016.

Several UK media based organisations have pledged to address these issues by conducting investigations into pay and revamping their recruitment so that it represents a 50:50 gender split in the workplace. However, only time will tell if these changes will be effective. In order to combat this issue more globally, particular attention will have to be paid to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which addresses the promotion of gender equality and the importance of decent work and economic growth for each individual, regardless of their gender.

It is all well and good encouraging women to flourish in the media industry and take up key roles as presenters or executives, but until they are supported financially and feel encouraged to speak up, without an environment of discrimination, sadly there will be little progress. We must bridge this gender pay gap and heal the economic scars of the pasts, rather than continuing to let it divide us.

Photo credit: Nick Efford

AUTHOR: guest blogger, Lauren McGaun

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